IS IN THE AIR
Christmas 2003 will be great. The tourism sector is bouncing back. Lots of ships are in port these days and the streets of Castries are filled with locals and visitors. Cruise tourism is gaining momentum and land based tourism stake holders are expecting the best post 9/11/2001 season. The Atlantic Rally for Cruisers continues to generate a lot of interest in St. Lucia and gives Restaurants and Hotels a real head start for the season.
It is a breath of fresh air as the hotel sector will be back on track, employment levels will be up. While the level of expectancy is high in the tourism sector, an interesting development is taking place in the retail sector; many new businesses are opening up. American Mall is now in full operations. Paramount Electronics Showroom is opened on the premises and is carrying a good assortment of Hotel Equipment.
I am usually an optimist but this time the evidence is all around us. The advertisers are spending at levels never seen before. The media houses have never it had so good. The story, which broke in the past week about the 90 million dollar tourism development on the East Coast, which includes a Golf Course, is exciting news. Then there is the opening up of the former Club Med property, which is expected, in the first quarter of the New Year. Renovation works have already begun. A new Medical School is also slated for Vieux Fort.
Real Estate is picking up. Foreign investors are beating the tract to St. Lucia. I have a very good feeling about the economic turn around which has begun in December 2003, and every indication is that the trend will continue into the New Year. It would have been a great moment if the energies of the people could have been focused on these exciting developments taking place before our very eyes but it is unfortunate that certain important issues are diverting some attention of the Government and the people.
I do not wish to say much about the year 2004 in this article, though I am tempted. I have lived a reasonable active business live and I must admit that there are times in the life of an Entrepreneur when it get really frightening. I was getting that feeling in recent weeks as I look around and find myself celebrating the big 60 this month in an environment where experience is not a stand-alone qualification. A situation further aggravated by the age factor. As a result, it all boils down to the hard fact that unless you can generate employment for yourself or the economy expands rapidly outside of Government, your goose is cooked.
I grieve for many of my friends who must face the reality of going into retirement with no means of maintaining the life style to which they are accustomed, although they are willing to continue to be gainfully employed. It is definitely the age of the young at the expense of the old who have laid the foundation. Local private sector managers are also turning their backs from the old and it is for this reason why direct foreign investment is the only hope for the elderly. There are three counts that keep older persons with experience out in the cold. 1) Age 2) Qualifications 3) Expected Emolument. Having made the foregoing points, I must hasten to confirm that I have nothing against my qualified sons and daughters and those of other parents but I believe we are loosing a real opportunity to maximize our benefits to the nation as a whole by not combining youth with experience wherever possible and there are many opportunities in the Government, its Agencies and the modern private sector to accommodate such relationships. Can we begin with a register of Professionals / Experts over 55 years of age who are unemployed or underemployed?
It is for this reason, I am so excited about the new developments in the economy and the sound of music that swings with tune, let the good times roll. You will recall that just before 9/11, I was reporting a light was sighted and had begun singing, but this time my feeling is even more upbeat as especially, it is a clear direction that the initial indicators show a trend that the economic progress will be private sector foreign investment driven. For my friends who are handicapped by age, degree, presumed need for large salary, the good news is that you can begin to get ready once again to make a real contribution to yourself, family and the wider society and even the world at large.
You can count on my word, 2004 will be great. If you are over 55 and not conversant with the use of the computer, attend some appreciation courses because this can be your next nightmare as you seek employment in the 21st Century. Many of us have bought in on the deception that we are too old to learn and get in the mould of resisting change. Don’t be fooled the old can be just as good as the young at most things and many times better with the experience under their belts.
I am back and promise that there will never be a dull moment on this website from hereon. Tell your family and friends to catch up on my articles at www.stluciasimplybeautiful.com
Keep Christ in your heart and share the Joy that is for everyone at Christmas!!!